The story of NYFD Firefighter Stephen Gerard Siller can inspire us all to help others in whatever way we can.
Stephen who grew up orphaned after losing his father and mother within a year and a half of each other was raised by his older siblings. His parents were lay Franciscans who inspired their children with the words of St. Francis of Assisi “while we have time, let us do good”. On September 11, 2001 Stephen was a 34 year old firefighter who was assigned to Brooklyn’s Squad 1. He was married to Sally and a father to five children.
On September 11th, Stephen lived and died by those inspirational words. Stephen’s shift had just ended and he was off to play golf with his brothers when he heard the news over his scanner of a plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Stephen called Sally to ask her to let his brothers know he’d have to meet them later and he headed back to Squad 1 to get his gear so he could help.
When Stephen arrived at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel it was closed, but that didn’t stop him from doing what was ingrained in him to do. He loaded 60 lbs. of gear on his back and went on foot through the tunnel to the Twin Towers. Stephen died the way he lived-working to save others.
The Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk in New York is held, each year, on the last Sunday of September. The event began in 2002 and has become one of the top 5K runs in America. The event is a symbol of the final steps that Stephen Siller took from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers. The series also pays tribute to the 343 FDNY firefighters, 71 law enforcement officers, and thousands of civilians who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
Proceeds from the events support the Foundation’s programs which benefit first responders, and catastrophically injured service members.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the various National Run, Walk, Climb Series events are Stephen Siller’s legacy. Look for a Tunnel to Tower Run, Walk or Climb event near you.